The average cost of a content marketing campaign can vary, anywhere between $6,000 a month to as high as $60,000+ a month for an enterprise business. What matters, though, is not the cost as much as the potential ROI that’s possible for each campaign.
If you are entering a conversation about content marketing wondering how much it costs, you might not be thinking ROI-first. Cost is only instructive in comparison to the overall opportunity that’s available to you.
Siege Media is a 110-person content marketing agency that has over 10 years of experience quoting campaign costs and delivering ROI for our clients. Of course, you don’t have to go with an agency with your content marketing work but the directional cost of an agency should connect to the overall costs of creating a comparable department within your company.
In this post, we’ll break down the market rates for blog design, blog posts, interactives, photography, infographics and more. And we’ll tie it all back to overall campaign success and how to think about generating ROI through your content marketing work.
Do You Want a Blog Post, or Do You Want Results?
A lot of clients come to us and ask how much we charge for a blog post.
In isolation, the cost of an agency like Siege may seem expensive, but the difference in what an agency like us provides and what you get from an average freelance writer is results. You don’t want to pay for a blog post, you want to pay for results.
This difference matters because the act of getting writing done for your website is commoditized, and can be done relatively easily and at low price. But the act of getting your site ranking #1 isn’t, and often takes 8+ roles working in tandem to create truly high quality content, and then promoting it, to actually get the results you want.
It’s those bad businesses that do content marketing that’s often communicated as part of a package, such as “Hey, we’ll do four posts a month for you for $400 per post.”, that leave your website traffic looking something like this:
These kinds of efforts often result in nothing because they’re not deliberate or strategic, as opposed to people that do content marketing well think of every post is its own effort with an end-to-end distribution strategy around it.
Given that, you should be thinking about each piece of content individually and using an ROI equation against the cost to produce to decide if it’s worth it to you.
With that philosophy in mind, it’s still reasonable to think about individual costs. But before you think of the cost of individual posts, you should think about the impact of blog design on that ROI.
Blog Design Cost
If you have an amazing blog post but host it on a poor looking blog, your outcomes can impacted by as much as 50%. In 2022, readers expect visually engaging experiences and will only read if you give them a pleasurable design (and content) that commands that attention.
For this reason, it makes sense to invest in a custom blog design early in the process.
If you think about the fact that a post may generate $2,000+/mo in outcomes, if you generate four of those per month and can increase the outcomes by 50% with a better design, the sunk cost of that design pays itself back very, very quickly.
Here are the common ranges for blog design in 2022:
Yes, you can get some out of the box blog designs for less than that, but the marginal benefit of creating a differentiated experience is everything as it comes to an effective content strategy.
So if you’re not ready to invest that sum cost in the design of your website, you should probably stop and make sure you have the budget and the money to do that or otherwise, it’s likely not worth trying to compete.
And with that next step, with content creation, is the single element that you would then put around your great design. The first piece is a basic blog post.
What Should a Blog Post Cost?
A blog post that drives outcomes will likely cost between $1,500-$6,000 to create on average. We say “drive outcomes” because many people may believe that blog posts are just text written by a freelancer. As shown above, rarely is content that’s just text high performing, as users want rich visuals with their content more and more.
This sample image for Asana is an example of a high-quality visual common in high-ranking content.
This is why we’ve invested so much in a design team — we see content as more than design. A great blog post is written by a subject matter expert, edited by a copyeditor for consistency, has visuals added by a designer, and then has an Art Director edit that work.
Finally, a Content Marketing Manager should add a layer of editing for marketing best practice to achieve an optimal distribution outcome and bake in SEO-best practice using their experience.
All this said, it’s possible to make content that performs with just writing. However, it increasingly requires a world-class UX design in order to make the content feel visual enough to perform without unique images each time.
But for those that are curious, we’ll break down the common costs of that option as well as the others below:
What Should Infographic Research + Design Cost?
The next element that you might want to create is an infographic. Same kind of idea—research, content creation—but this time you’re using even more design time in order to create that.
A good designer, as well as good research, is not cheap. So in that range you will probably spend $3,000 to $4,000 for a well-done end-to-end infographic.
What Should an Animated Infographic Research + Design Cost?
And then when you get to animation, maybe you want to animate an infographic—same thing, well-done ideation, in-depth research—now you’re handing it to an animator which is generally a more experienced designer and that depth it takes even more time.
A normal infographic will take us around four days, while an animated one might take us two weeks. So you can see that difference in time creates a cost difference, which brings that to around $7,200 for an infographic by itself.
What Should Videos Cost?
Videos are similar, and to do high-quality videos well, I’d say around $3,500 per minute is a general framework for a basic-ish video.
And obviously the more complex that shoot gets, the more expensive it can become on a per video basis. So maybe a two-minute video can be in the $7,000 range and be done really well, depending on what kind of efficiencies you bring and if you do it over and over again, it can be easier.
For example, we’re doing these video series, it’s not as hard to do it the second time because we were doing these over and over again, but if you’re doing a one-off shoot that’s completely unique and on its own standing, it’s probably going to be in the $6,000-$8,000 range to just do that video well in terms of casting, videography, script, and all of those things that you need to consider.
What Should Content With Original Photography Cost?
Other content types to consider are photography posts as well, that can also add some complexity. Do you want to do original photography in addition to the blog post that I kind detailed on the first point?
That might go in the $4,000 to $6,000 range rather than a $1,500 to $3,000 post for a high-quality post because you’re having to do an exclusive photoshoot that’s unique to it. This requires a photo studio, shoot prep, and a talented photographer to make it stand out.
What Do Interactives Cost?
Finally, interactives are definitely a differentiated factor, and they take even more time to be done really well and are hard to paint a broad brush around. You can use some interactive frameworks that developers can leverage, but as most know, UX designers and developers are highly regarded and therefore hard to get a hold of. Because of that, supply and demand economic reality makes development work more expensive.
On average, I would expect unique interactives that perform and rank to cost $9,000+ in 2022.
But that cost also means that you stand out if you’re willing to invest in that time, a talented, experienced developer and also the right idea that stands out from that capacity. After the content creation side is the content distribution side.
What Does Content Outreach Cost?
The common hourly rate for good content marketing outreach is somewhere between $90-$110/hour. This rate is from agencies with extensive experience and skills doing it, so if outreach isn’t something you’re used to or good at, you might assume your costs to get the same outcomes will be similar, if not worse.
To add to that, for most posts that we recommend around 16-20 hours of promotion. We find that this is a sweet spot where you’re promoting a content to an interested audience, but not spending too much time such that you start to burn prospects who may be only mildly interested in the piece. You can promote any piece of content for more than 20 hours, but that comes at a cost of future content. That’s not good.
All that considered, the general cost of distribution for a really well-done post in that $3,200 to $5,500 range. That generally means around 20 to 60 hours per post to distribute that content just from the labor perspective of doing the cold outreach, doing additional distribution on Reddit, and through social communities and things like that.
How Much Does a Full Campaign Cost?
Bringing this all together in terms of the creation, design, editing, interactivity, and blog design, you can hopefully start to see that great execution does not come cheap. A good content marketing campaign for a medium-sized business ($4MM+ annual revenues), should be in the $10,000 to $20,000 a month range as a starting block to be competitive.
When you get into more complex, more high competition verticals where you’re going against big players with big budgets, that can get into the $30,000 to $50,000 to $60,000 a month range for a well-done content marketing campaign. That’s because it’s pulling from so many different angles to differentiate and out-link competitors.
To recap, here is where we see common content marketing campaigns landing:
At the end of the day, content marketing is not expensive. Bad content marketing is expensive, but you do it well it’ll be, in our opinion, the best investment you can make.
Why is Spending This Much Worth it?
After reading these numbers, you might be wondering “why should I spend this?”. The numbers might sound expensive to some on the surface, but they aren’t if you are properly allocating against a strategy, the total addressable market and you’re actually driving outcomes.
To do this when talking with clients, we use our internal framework of increasing website traffic to validate the cost.
The premise of this is to look at the traffic cost of the content ranking using Ahrefs/SEMRush. If we see topic X is worth $30,000/mo if we can rank well, it’s easy justification to create a $6,000 blog post.
Similarly, if we see the total landscape is worth $500,000 more in monthly traffic, and there are fifty of those $6,000 topics, we know that there is a larger argument for a big engagement to make a dent and drive significant returns. It all comes down to the strategy, and what the holistic cost is to create content that converts.
Thinking about making the leap, but don’t want to hire a team of eight content marketers to make it happen? Check out our content marketing services to get a custom quote today.